FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 18, 2020) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today held a press conference in Frankfort to discuss his office's role as special prosecutor in the investigation involving the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor.
The press conference was informational only. The investigation into the death of Ms. Taylor remains ongoing.
Attorney General Cameron provided the following remarks during the press conference:
Good afternoon, and thank you all for being here. I want to take this opportunity to discuss our office’s role as special prosecutor in the ongoing investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. I want to be clear at the outset of this conference that it is informational only. The investigation remains ongoing, and the specifics of it will not be discussed.
Before I go any further, I’d like to take a moment to say a few words to Ms. Taylor’s family. I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak you have sustained as a result of your loss. Please know that you have my condolences and deepest sympathies.
To all those involved in this case, you have my commitment that our office is undertaking a thorough and fair investigation.
This is a commitment I’m also making to the Louisville community, which has suffered tremendously in the days since March 13, to the men and women of our law enforcement community, who put on their uniforms everyday to protect and serve our communities, to the peaceful protesters who have used their voice in an effort to seek positive change and who have not given in to the calls for violence and looting, and to those across the country we’ve heard from with cards, emails, and calls, and who are asking us to complete the investigation as soon as possible.
We hear you, and we are working around the clock to follow the law to the truth. Everyone involved in this case deserves nothing less.
By way of background, and as understanding of how our office got involved in this case, on March 13th, during the execution of a warrant by LMPD, Ms. Taylor was shot and killed in her home. Two months later, on May 13th, our office was asked to serve as special prosecutor in the case because of a conflict of interest by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who at the time, was pursuing the prosecution of Kenneth Walker, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend.
It is the job of the Attorney General to step in and assist when a prosecutor anywhere in the Commonwealth needs assistance or has a conflict. This case is no different. While Kentucky law provides our office with the authority to appoint a prosecutor from another jurisdiction to oversee the case, we felt that given the importance of this case, the heavy workload associated with the investigation, and the amount of time that had already transpired since the shooting, our office would proceed with handling the investigation and prosecution.
A few weeks after being asked to serve as special prosecutor, our office began to receive material from Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit (PIU), which was already in the process of conducting an investigation into the events involving Ms. Taylor’s death. We have continued to receive information from PIU, and each time we do, we review the materials immediately.
Please rest assured that we are also undertaking our own independent investigation to determine the truth. We believe that the independent steps we are taking are crucial for the findings to be accepted both by the community and by those directly involved in the case.
An investigation of this magnitude, when done correctly, requires time and patience. I understand that I am not the first to ask for these considerations in this case. However, I can assure you, that at the end of our investigation, we will do what is right, and we will find the truth. I urge everyone watching, regardless of your opinions and beliefs, to do the same. Violence and lawlessness will do nothing more than perpetuate further tragedy.
We have the full resources of our Office of Special Prosecutions and Department of Criminal Investigations involved in the investigation. Our team of investigators and prosecutors, with more than 200 years of combined experience, are working diligently on the case, at my direction.
As the chief prosecutor for the Commonwealth, my role and the role of my team is very different than that of a civil or criminal defense attorney. I have a specific obligation to see that anyone accused of a crime is accorded procedural justice and that guilt is decided upon the basis of sufficient evidence, rather than public opinion.
I take this responsibility very seriously. The Supreme Court has said that a prosecutor’s interest “in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. [A prosecutor] may prosecute with earnestness and vigor—indeed he should do so. But while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.”
We are not going to strike foul blows in this case. We are going to pursue the truth based on the law, whether that leads to convictions or exonerations.
Because we need the flexibility to fully investigate the facts, I am not going to provide a specific date that our investigation will be concluded. However, I can assure you that we understand the urgency, we understand the public outcry, and we understand the need for the truth and the desire for justice.
In a moment, I’ll take a few questions regarding my comments today. I’ll be as transparent as possible in my responses, but please keep in mind that I, and my team, are bound by ethical rules from the Supreme Court regarding the public comments we can make on this case. We cannot make statements that will in any way prejudice possible proceedings and risk jeopardizing the investigation.
A Facebook Live recording from the press conference is available on Attorney General Cameron's official Facebook page.